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    #1

    Differences Between Tenses

    Hi.
    Could you please tell me about the difference between these two sentences?

    1. I was amazed to hear that Chris had won first prize, and so had Tom.

    2. I was amazed to hear that Chris won first prize, and so did Tom.

    Also would you tell me about tense sequences?
    I've read about it in books, but in practical English I see forms that none of those books mentioned.
    Last edited by Reza_Rahimi; 06-Sep-2016 at 21:29.

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    #2

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    They mean the same thing.

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    #3

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    I'm probably going to take it in the teeth from the real grammar experts aboard, but I believe...

    1. Past Perfect.
    2. Past Simple.

    I further think there is some disagreement in the halls of academia about how many tenses there are in English, but if you can get a grasp on these 12, you've got most possibilities covered.

    There are four common forms: simple, continuous (or progressive), perfect, perfect continuous.

    There are three common tenses: past, present, future. Four times three gives you twelve.

    I sometimes see reference to "future in the past". And I see expansions on types too. However, if you get the basic 12 figured out, you will be ready for most English forms you are likely to encounter.

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    #4

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Reza_Rahimi View Post
    Hi.
    Could you please tell me about the difference between these two sentences?

    1. I was amazed to hear that Chris had won first prize, and so had Tom.

    2. I was amazed to hear that Chris won first prize, and so did Tom.
    The past perfect is often used of a past situation that occurred before a later past situation. In the first sentence, the speaker reports their past-time amazement at hearing about the winning that had happened before this. The earlier winning is reported in the past tense, the later amazement in the past simple.

    When the sequence of events is obvious from the context, we sometimes don't feel the need to use the past perfect. It is obvious that the speaker could hear of people winning a prize only after the winning, so the speaker in #2 has not pointed this up further.

    There is effectively no difference in meaning between your two sentences.

    would you tell me about tense sequences?
    There are strict rules in some languages about the sequence of tenses. Such a rule would dictate that a past perfect (or some equivalent form) must be used for a situation happening before a situation that has been reported with a past simple, as in #1 above and: I arrived after he had left.

    We are less rigid about this in English when the sequence of events is clear, as in #2 above and: I arrived after he left.

    For reasons already noted, the past perfect had won is used in #1 for Chris's earlier action. That decision having been made, the same tense must be used for Tom's action, though only the auxiliary had ( for had won) is used after so.

    The decision to use the past simple won in #2 for Chris's earlier action having been made, the same tense must be used for Tom's action, though only the auxiliary did (for did win = won) is used after ​so.

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    #5

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaDan View Post
    I'm probably going to take it in the teeth from the real grammar experts aboard, but I believe...

    1. Past Perfect.
    2. Past Simple.

    I further think there is some disagreement in the halls of academia about how many tenses there are in English, but if you can get a grasp on these 12, you've got most possibilities covered.

    There are four common forms: simple, continuous (or progressive), perfect, perfect continuous. There are three common tenses: past, present, future. Four times three gives you twelve.

    I sometimes see reference to "future in the past". And I see expansions on types too. However, if you get the basic 12 figured out, you will be ready for most English forms you are likely to encounter.
    I think that is a potentially misleading way of putting things. I think it is better to say that English has two tense systems: an inflectional system contrasting preterite (past) and present, and an independent analytic past tense system called the 'perfect'.

    English has no future tense, and 'progressive' is an aspect, not a tense

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    #6

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    I think that is a potentially misleading way of putting things. I think it is better to say that English has two tense systems: an inflectional system contrasting preterite (past) and present, and an independent analytic past tense system called the 'perfect'.

    English has no future tense, and 'progressive' is an aspect, not a tense
    Uh, no, not really. I think the basics are exactly what ESL students need to know. If they end up pursuing linguistics down the road, or just want to burrow into the intricacies of grammar for the sake of knowing that stuff, well, maybe then.

    Seriously, I'm a native speaker, and highly competent. I've never heard of half of those things you talk about. I really question what purpose there is in knowing that stuff, except to be able to teach it to someone else for whom the only purpose in learning it is to be able to teach it....

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    #7

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaDan View Post
    Uh, no, not really. I think the basics are exactly what ESL students need to know. If they end up pursuing linguistics down the road, or just want to burrow into the intricacies of grammar for the sake of knowing that stuff, well, maybe then.

    Seriously, I'm a native speaker, and highly competent. I've never heard of half of those things you talk about. I really question what purpose there is in knowing that stuff, except to be able to teach it to someone else for whom the only purpose in learning it is to be able to teach it....
    The lack of a future tense in English is widely accepted. And you've never heard of the perfect tense?

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    #8

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    It was you who presented a list of what you considered were the tenses, ChinaDan. You can't really object if somebody else presents what they think is a more helpful list.

    I am not going to muddy the waters further by presenting my own full ideas here, but I will just note that I have found the idea of a future tense one that causes a lot of confusion for many learners.

    ps. If you like to discuss this, let's do so in a fresh thread. Let's give Reza_Rahimi the chance to ask any follow-up questions here.

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    #9

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    Reza_Rahimi is probably the latest punter to be left with their head swimming. He/she has made no response so far so I am moving the thread to a forum where fewer ESL students will find it and be left thinking 'Why bother learning English? It's much too complicated for me'.

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    #10

    Re: Differences Between Tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    The lack of a future tense in English is widely accepted.
    Paul, that's a BS statement. A branch of linguistics has all manner of fancy names and technical constructs, yada yada. That's great. I even get why you guys create that stuff. But that's just it! It is created as an academic exercise. Okay, have at it.

    But there is a present, there is a past, and there is a future. Our verbs change to suit which we wish to speak about. And sure, it gets complicated. If something happened in the past, I don't really care if we call the verb form "past tense" or a "detached modality"; either way, it is a phrase which serves as a handle for discussing something occurring in the past.

    Knowing the "widely accepted" phraseology has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on learning how to use English correctly. I could say it's called a "backward pass" - it wouldn't matter; it's only a label so others understand that we are talking about an event in the past, and how it affects the verb form used.

    And you've never heard of the perfect tense?
    Sarcasm; love it. And didn't you say "perfect" was a form, not a tense?

    Actually, it was more like, "an inflectional system contrasting preterite" that I was referring to.

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